Heritage and Hiscox support Community Arts

Les Genats Estate. Photo by Sarah George.Heritage Group Ltd and Hiscox Insurance Company (Guernsey) Limited have partnered to support the Guernsey Arts Commission.

Hiscox and Heritage have joined together to support the GAC’s Community Arts Estates Programme, for the next three years. This Programme provides weekly arts sessions at Les Genats encouraging personal development, social skills and increasing individuals’ confidence to name a few of the direct benefits of arts involvement.

Richard Tee, CEO of Heritage, commented, “We are delighted to support such a worthwhile project in the local community. Many companies tend to look afar for projects to support, but knowing that we are providing a platform upon which the youth of the community can develop is something which we see as key to sustaining the future of our Island.”

The Guernsey Arts Commission was set up in June 2008 with the aim of providing a strong identifiable voice for the arts in the island, raising public awareness and promoting the value, relevance and importance of the arts. As Joanna Littlejohns, GAC’s Head of Arts Development stated, “The recent prioritising of the community arts work stream is to address a need first observed by the Sports Commission. During their activities they noticed a contingency of individuals along the edges of their activities who were either too young or not confident enough to join in.  Utilising the bespoke ArtsMobile we have met that need bringing a host of opportunities directly to this community and others as the cry for more is heard.”

Steve Camm, Director of Hiscox said: “The Company has been so impressed by this fantastic initiative and the dedication of the Commission’s staff and volunteers that we wanted to be part of a project that will benefit so many local people.”

Brett Klement the Community Arts Officer for the Guernsey Arts Commission spearheads this developing area and his team of volunteers (both paid and unpaid) is steadily growing. As he said: “The far more reaching effect for individuals has been a boost in confidence and a cross-over flowing back and forth between the arts and sports in an intuitive recognition that we as human beings need both access to the creative process and physical activity to thrive. In a recent spin-off to the Les Genats Programme within the St. Martin’s area one child stated clearly, ‘We’re not here for the sports – we came for the art!’.”

Overall the goal of the GAC’s Estates Team is to be positive, caring role models who practice immediate forgiveness in the face of what is often a challenging environment.  The first danger these kids must face is not drugs but the boredom that leads to drugs, not anti-social behaviour but lack of focused activities and personalised attention that lead to a pattern of negative behaviour.  By serving the children the GAC aims to serve their families, the community and the future of Guernsey as we believe every child deserves an equal chance.  Now in partnership with both Heritage and Hiscox the team has grown and been made fully capable of making that ideal a long term reality.

Brett Klement has recently returned to the island after 10 years in California with 20 years of teaching experience and volunteer work in India, Africa, Central America and North America.  He has a host of immersion experiences studying the real effects and overriding causes of third world poverty, border issues and homelessness.  According to Brett, “Every human population suffers the same challenges; in the third world they simply do not have the resources to hide them.  In Guernsey we have the unique opportunity to not just hide them but obliterate them with a community wide approach, identifying and strategically pooling our resources where they will yield the greatest long term dividends possible; that is with all the children of our island home. “

To find out more about our Community Arts Programme click here.

(Photograph by Sarah George)

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